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How Do Timed Auctions Work? And How Do You Bid on Them?

Debbie Porter

As we’re holding a timed auction over the Christmas period, here’s a handy guide to better inform anyone unfamiliar with the process of a timed auction, as well as how to bid on a timed auction with us.

What is a timed auction, and how does it work?

A timed auction takes place entirely online, with no auctioneer at the rostrum managing the sale. Each lot is available to bid on at any time between the commencement of the sale, until the auction expires at a predetermined time. Assuming any reserves have been exceeded, the highest bidder for each lot wins the item when the sale expires.

Bidders enter a maximum bid for each item they are interested in. The auction software will automatically only bid enough to meet the reserve or keep the bidder in the lead. Bidders’ maximum bids are never shown and cannot be seen by anyone, including the auction house. Bidders can view their own current bid when logged in and viewing the relevant lot. If a bidder is outbid by someone else, the underbidder will receive an email alert, so they can choose if they want to respond.

To guard against sniping, for any bids that are entered in the final few minutes before a lot is due to end, the window for bidding on that item will be extended to give underbidders a chance to respond. If another bid is submitted in the final minutes again, the process will repeat, until no further bids are submitted and the time period expires.

How to bid in a timed auction with Potteries Auctions

First, set up an account with, then register for the sale you’re interested in. Next, find the lot you’re interested in, enter your maximum bid in the appropriate box and then click ‘place bid’. Another page will appear with a ‘confirm’ button. Click the button and the bid will be submitted.

Bidders have two ways of checking to see whether they remain the highest bidder or if they have been outbid:

  • Log in to and navigate to the relevant lot. Once there, it will show on the right-hand side of the screen if you’re in the lead or not.
  • Again, log in to Navigate to ‘My Saleroom’ and click on ‘My Current Bids’. Then, clicking on ‘Leading’ which will show the items where you’re currently the highest bidder. Clicking on ‘Outbid’ will show the lots where you’re the underbidder.

We wish you luck in any timed auction you participate in with Potteries Auctions. If you have any questions, you can call us on 01782 638100 or email us at